Good management practices of venomous snakes in captivity to produce biological venom-based medicines: achieving replicability and contributing to pharmaceutical industry
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One of the factors responsible for lack of reproducible findings may be attributed to the raw material used. To date, there are no apparent studies examining reproducibility using venoms for the development of new toxin-based drugs with respect to regulatory agencies' policies. For this reason, protocols were implemented to produce animal toxins with quality, traceability, and strict compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices. This required validation of the production chain from the arrival of the animal to the vivarium, followed by handling, housing, as well as compliance with respect to extraction, freeze-drying, and, finally, storage protocols, aimed at generating compounds to serve as candidate molecules applicable in clinical trials. Currently, to produce quality snake venoms to support reproductive studies, the Center for the Study of Venoms and Venomous Animals (CEVAP) from São Paulo State University (UNESP), São Paulo, Brazil has 449 microchipped snakes through rigid and standardized operating procedures for safety, health, and welfare of animals. Snakes were frequently subjected to vet clinical examination, anthelmintic, and antiparasitic treatment. Venom milk used to destroy prey was collected from each animal in individual plastic microtubes to avoid contamination and for traceability. In addition, venoms were submitted to microbiological, and biochemical toxicological analyses. It is noteworthy that investigators are responsible for caring, maintaining, and manipulating snakes and ensuring their health in captivity. This review aimed to contribute to the pharmaceutical industry the experimental experience and entire snake venom production chain required to generate quality products for therapeutic human consumption.
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